What Are the Types of Lesions?

Reviewed on 6/18/2021

A skin lesion is an area of skin that is different in color, shape, size, or texture from the surrounding skin. Types of skin lesions, which can be benign or cancer, include freckles, moles, blisters, crusts, sores, ulcers, and scars.
A skin lesion is an area of skin that is different in color, shape, size, or texture from the surrounding skin. Types of skin lesions, which can be benign or cancer, include freckles, moles, blisters, crusts, sores, ulcers, and scars.

Skin lesions describe areas of skin that have different characteristics from the surrounding skin, such as color, shape, size, or texture. Skin lesions are common and most are benign, but some can be malignant (cancer) or premalignant (could evolve into skin cancer).

There are two main types of skin lesions: 

  • Primary skin lesions 
    • This type of lesion forms on previously healthy skin and is associated with a specific cause
    • Examples of primary skin lesions include: 
  • Secondary skin lesions 
    • This type of lesion develops from the evolution of a primary skin lesion, either due to trauma, including scratching or rubbing, or due to its treatment or progression
    • Examples of secondary skin lesions include: 
      • Crusts
      • Sores
      • Ulcers
      • Scars

What Are Symptoms of Lesions?

Skin lesions can be a wide range of different sizes, shapes, colors, textures, and forms. They may occur as a singular isolated lesion or in groups, and can appear in a localized area or all over the body. 

Symptoms of lesions depend on the type and cause and may include: 

  • Itching
  • Dryness
  • Flaking
  • Scaling
  • Peeling
  • Crusting 
  • Bleeding
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Infection

What Causes Lesions?

There are numerous causes of skin lesions, ranging from minor to serious: 


 

How Are Lesions Diagnosed?

The type and cause of skin lesions are diagnosed with a medical history and a physical examination of the skin in which a doctor will evaluate the color, size, shape, depth, and location of the lesions. 

Tests used to diagnose the type of lesion and cause includes: 

  • Dermoscopy 
  • Wood’s lamp examination 
  • Blood tests
  • Allergy tests
  • Skin or wound swabs for microbiological investigations
  • Imaging tests 
  • Biopsy (if cancer is suspected)

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What Is the Treatment for Lesions?

Treatment for skin lesions varies widely depending on the type of lesion, the cause of the lesion, and if the lesion is cancerous. 

Some types of benign lesions may not need to be treated. When treatment is needed for benign lesions, it may include: 

  • Topical medications
  • Laser therapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Phototherapy
  • Surgical removal

Skin lesions caused by systemic disease may be treated by treating the underlying cause. 

Malignant (cancerous) skin lesions are usually treated with: 

  • Surgical removal, often followed by one or more of the following:
    • Radiation therapy
    • Chemotherapy
    • Biological treatments such as immunotherapy

The use of protective sunscreen is recommended for everyone to help prevent sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancers.

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Reviewed on 6/18/2021
References
https://www.osmosis.org/answers/skin-lesions